Thursday, January 29, 2009

I should have been a librarian

I've mentioned that I am a big reader. People who know me in real life know that that is true. I would almost rather read than do anything else (except shopping). Because of this a few people have asked me to talk about books I've read. I'm going to give it a try.

I used to only read fiction but lately my tastes have expanded and I've been reading a lot of non-fiction. Mostly memoirs but other topics as well. The 2 most interesting books I have read recently are both non-fiction. One was called Mother Warriors by Jenny McCarthy and the other book is To Love What Is (I can't remember the exact name of the author). (One day soon I hope to learn how to include links and other fancy stuff but bear with me-I can only learn so much at a time).

About Mother Warriors-first, a disclaimer. I don't usually read books written by celebs because they are usually bad. In fact, I didn't particularly like her writing either. However, her topic was interesting enough to hold my attention. The book is about autism, vaccines and biomedical interventions which interests me because of my profession and because I have kids. Her premise is pretty controversial-she believes vaccines cause autism. Plain and simple. She also believes autism can be cured (yep-you heard right) by doing all sorts of interventions (diet, hyperbaric oxygen, de-toxifying metals from the body-most of these I don't even know what they are). She profiles families that have had success with these treatments. I have a hard time agreeing with a lot of what she says. But there was one aspect that really hit home with me about the vaccinations. We put a lot of chemicals in our children's bodies-at ONE time. Obviously vaccines are necessary-I would never not vaccinate my child. But do I know enough about them? Have I done enough research to make an informed decision? The way vaccines are given now, we assume all children's bodies will react the same way. But that is simply not true. Every baby's immunity is different and we need to acknowledge that. Maybe there is a better way to keep our children safe from these horrible diseases. The other information that made since to me was changing diet to exclude gluten, dairy, carbs. I do think diet has a huge impact on the way we feel and how we act. I'm not sure it can cure autism-I haven't seen results like that in my professional life. All in all, it did make me think.

To Love What Is is a completely different type of book. It is a memoir about an older woman (60's?) whose husband fell 9 feet from a sleeping loft and suffered a traumatic brain injury. How amazing was it that he survived-he was 75 years old when this happened! Then to find out he needs constant caretaking-and I mean constant. He can not be left alone for a minute. He lost all inhibition and his speech doesn't always make sense. Many people told the author to put her husband in a nursing home, that she is a saint for taking care of him. She doesn't look at it that way. How could you turn your back on the person you love? Even if taking care of that person takes everything you have to give. I would like to think I would be a person like that, but who knows? Their story is sweet, tragic and everything in between.

So there it is-this post is getting too long so I'll stop now. I think you can tell I love to read!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Guilty as charged

I have been thinking a lot about guilt lately. I'm not sure why-guilt is always a part of my daily life. Why am I writing about it now? I don't know. I just know that I constantly feel guilt in all aspects of my life. No matter what I do I feel like I am cheating something or someone else out of something.

When I 'm at work I feel like I am being less of a mom. When I am at work and thinking about my kids I feel like I am doing a disservice to my students. When I am focusing on my husband, I feel like I should be paying attention to my kids. When I am playing with my kids, I should spend time with my husband. When I am reading a book, I should be cleaning my house. When I am cleaning the house I should be playing with the baby. Tonight I should be at a parent meeting for my first grader and I'm not. So I feel guilty. And the list goes on and on and on. . .

I can make myself feel guilty about the littlest things-like buying a coffee when I am trying to save money. But I can't seem to stop doing the actions or feeling guilty. Maybe I like to feel bad? Maybe I feel like feeling like a martyr?

I have a wonderful husband who never makes me feel guilty. I do that all on my own. He encourages me to be easier on myself and let go of the little things. Live my life. But I have never been good at letting things go.

For tonight I am going to let go of the guilt that goes along with not going to the parent meeting. I don't really want to go. I speak to the teachers all the time anyway. Am I less of a parent for not going? I hope not!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

16 things about ME

Ok-so this is in honor of my sister. She did this on her blog and I thought it was a great idea and decided to do it on mine. Especially since I am new to this and need to introduce myself.

Here goes: 16 things about me

1. I am very short. 4 ft 10 and 3/4 in. to be exact. This really only affects me when I need to reach high things in the grocery store. Actually, it affects all parts of my life but I can't imagine being any taller.

2. I talk to process things that have happened to me and over-analyze everything.

3. I will read anything with words on it. I read constantly even if I only have 5 min. I love to read all genres of books and am especially into memoirs right now.

4. I love shopping especially for clothes (my husband made me put this one in).

5. I have 4 beautiful, energy-filled, curious daughters ranging in age from 8yrs. to 3 months. I love being a mom but it is a lot of hard work!

6. I didn't get my driver's license until I was 23 years old. I still hate parallel parking and don't like to drive to places that I am not familiar with. I do however drive on the highway when necessary.

7. My husband is from a big family and I am frequently overwhelmed when they all get together. They are great but I 'm not a huge fan of large crowds.

8. I hate change!!!

9. I have only ever worked with children in some way. I have been a camp counselor, babysitter, tutor, and teacher. I am scared of other types of jobs.

10. I grew up in a small town but now consider myself a big city girl. I have almost lived in Chicago as long as I lived in Maryland-which means I am getting older!!

11. I like neatness and consider myself organized but do have lots of stuff that I can't seem to get rid of .

12. My dad fought in WWII in the pacific. He was in the Navy and his ship sunk (he was on a minesweeper) and they were rescued by the Japanese. If he hadn't survived I wouldn't be here.

13. I am shy and nervous when I meet new people.

14. I need lots of sleep at all times to be a functional human being. This is hard when you are the mom of 4 kids-I am always trying for more sleep!

15. My secret dream is to one day be a psychiatrist.I am fascinated by the way medicine interacts with mental illnesses.

16. I am a special ed teacher and I love my job even when I hate it. I feel like I am doing something purposeful even if the outcome isn't immediate.

That's me in a nutshell.

Pregnancy Brain

So I just read an article in a psychology magazine about what happens to your brain while pregnant. I had a baby girl 3 months ago so this article is pretty relevant to my life. The article says that your hormones are 1000 times more at the height of pregnancy (3rd trimester) and compared to other non-pregnant people your memory suffers (at least that's what I remember-ha ha). Anyway, this continues for at least a year after you have the kid and then supposedly your brain benefits from all this craziness and is better than other people's brains. I'm not sure I believe that part. Also, if you are pregnant with a girl you do worse on memory related tasks than if you are pregnant with a boy. How is that fair? Having 4 girls has put me at a significant disadvantage in that category!
However, this article supported what I have known all along-that my scatterbraininess is not a figment of my imagination. It's real and it's not my fault, there is research to back this up!! Ok, the research mostly involves rats but still. When I can't remember the name of someone I've known for 10 years-it's not my fault. When I go to the doctor's office on the wrong day-it's not my fault. When my husband tells me he told me the same thing 3 times in a row AND I don't remember-it's not my fault.
Being an extremely responsible person for most of my life this is hard for me and everyone around me to get used to. Expectations need to be adjusted for this time. I feel blessed that I have a good reason (the best) for being memory challenged and wouldn't change it for the world!

Hopefully, I'll get my brain back soon!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Well, I finally did it. After 3 months of thinking of posts in my head (since my 4th daughter was born) I finally decided to take the plunge and try blogging. I'm nervous and I have no idea what I am doing but I guess that is what my computer savvy husband is for.

I'm not sure why anyone would want to read about my life but I have decided that my writing is not about that. It seems that I have always had a lot to say (I always got in trouble in school for talking too much) and now I have a way to say it.

Today when I was working with a student we were writing about creativity and I realized something about myself. When I was growing up I never labeled myself creative. I still have a hard time using that word to describe me but I am showing more creativity than I ever thought I would. I knit, I have learned to make jewelry, I have painted-in the past, and now I would like to write. That's kind of a reason I chose this name for the blog. Besides the fact that I am a teacher (more on that later) and I ask students to fill in the blanks, I felt like there was a deeper meaning to this title. It makes me think of an empty palette or blank slate that I can fill in however I choose. Being a teacher is so much a part of who I am, but I want to be able to explore other parts of me as well.